This Is How Mujeres Do It

LOS ANGELES —  The Beta Main’s current resident artist, Star Montana, moderated a wonderful Saturday afternoon panel discussion. “How We Do It” brought together women creatives Valerie BowerArlene Mejorado, and Desilu Munoz who all share a love for zines, and the need to document their lives through the still image.

The parallels you see in their work all gravitate to hometown pride, families, and friends. These subjects dominate the forefront of their works, giving visibility to those not often represented, sans exploitation.

It was empowering to see mujeres like myself, and I’d like to thank Star Montana, and the Main Museum for bringing together a panel that was well deserved, greatly needed, and entirely appreciated.

Images by yours truly:

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I Dream of Los Angeles, is the body of work by photographer Star Montana, which is currently on view at the Main Museum now until September 24, 2017.


Main Museum and Star Montana presents How We Do It


On Saturday, July 22nd join photographer and artist, Star Montana, at the Main Museum as she brings together a group of women of color photographers to discuss their use of photography, zines, and social media to make visible to the world the places and people in their experiences.

Participating photographers are:
Valerie J. Bower
Arlene Mejorado
Desilu Muñoz

Don’t miss out! Admission is free but RSVP here in advance.

The Main Museum is located on 114 W 4th St., Los Angeles, CA 90013.

In Remembrance: Khadija Saye, young photographer loses life in London’s Grenfell Fire


LONDON — The world sinks heavily after learning about the rising death toll (at least 79 are dead, missing, or presumed dead) from the Grenfell Tower fire that took place early morning on June 14. As we mourn the loss of many, one of the confirmed victims was young artist, Khadija Saye, 24 who lived and worked on her photography from the 20th floor with her Gambian mother, Mary Mendy (who is also missing, and presumed dead).

The art world only saw a glimpse of what talent Khadija Saye displayed through her photography. Her wet plate collodion tintype series, Dwelling: in this space we breathe is currently exhibited at the Diaspora Pavilion during the 57th Venice Biennale. Saye described her series as an exploration of “the migration of traditional Gambian spiritual practices and the deep rooted urge to find solace within a higher power.”

Khadija Saye self-portrait, from the series Dwelling: in this space we breathe © Khadija Saye, courtesy International Curators Forum
Khadija Saye self-portrait, from the series Dwelling: in this space we breathe © Khadija Saye, courtesy International Curators Forum
Khadija Saye self-portrait, from the series Dwelling: in this space we breathe © Khadija Saye, courtesy International Curators Forum
Khadija Saye self-portrait, from the series Dwelling: in this space we breathe © Khadija Saye, courtesy International Curators Forum

Saye presented her final series Crownedwhich encapsulates Afro-Caribbean hairstyles, a project she began working on that expressed her Gambian heritage for her graduation project from UCA Farnham in 2013.

What aches the most is the inclusion of Saye’s mother in Crowned.

The portraits were taken in a makeshift home studio on the 20th floor; I recall with tenderness the tutorials during the making of this work, Khadija would burst in with work prints and talk with joy as she recounted her mother’s nervousness at being photographed

— Natasha Caruana, senior lecturer in photography at UCA Farnham, in an interview with the British Journal of Photography.

There is something familiar about being a student in photography, and turning to subjects that you know whole heartedly. More often than not we aim our lens inward to the ones who gave us life, and we appreciate them within a single frame, unknowingly documenting them for the world to see.

Khadija Saye and her work will forever be remembered. Let us not forget her kindness, her love of others stories, her struggle, accomplishments, her vision. She has left it all behind for us to remember and celebrate, and I hope it inspires our youth, especially young girls, to continue their art, to follow through with scholarships, and to never regret asking for help, or guidance. Collaborate, pursue mentorships, and above all, be proud of where you come from.

Rest in power, Khadija Saye. You are truly a source of inspiration to all.

From the series Crowned © Khadija Saye, courtesy Nicola Green
From the series Crowned © Khadija Saye, courtesy Nicola Green
From the series Crowned © Khadija Saye, courtesy Nicola Green
From the series Crowned © Khadija Saye, courtesy Nicola Green
From the series Crowned © Khadija Saye, courtesy Nicola Green
From the series Crowned © Khadija Saye, courtesy Nicola Green

All images appear under the British Journal of Photography’s obituary for Khadija Saye. Image credit is given to Saye’s mentor, Nicola Green, and the International Curators Forum.

Top Photo Events Happening This Week

This week, when it comes to photo related events, February is looking good. I mean, real good. With four photo haps featuring some of the most incredibly talented women to date, it’s hard to make it to them all.

I thought I’d soften all the FOMO by including an upcoming  Q+A panel discussion in April with the impeccable, Shirin Neshat. More info on that below!

Now on to the hard part, how will you be spending your photo weekend? I know it’s going to be quite the decision, but hey, at least I’ve taken out some of the dirty work for you.

Don’t forget to send in those RSVP’s!


@ The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA | FEBRUARY 24, 2017 – FEBRUARY 26, 2017
Preview | Thursday, February 23, 2017 | 6–9 pm | $10 entry fee

Printed Matter presents the fifth annual LA Art Book Fair, from February 23 – 26, 2017, at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.

Free and open to the public, Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair is a unique event for artists’ books, art catalogs, monographs, periodicals, and zines presented by over 300 international presses, booksellers, antiquarians, artists, and independent publishers. Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair 2016 saw over 35,000 visitors over the course of three and a half days.

Printed Matter’s LA ART BOOK FAIR is the companion fair to Printed Matter’s NY ART BOOK FAIR, held every fall in New York. In September 2016, over 39,000 artists, book buyers, collectors, dealers, curators, independent publishers, and enthusiasts attended Printed Matter’s NY ART BOOK FAIR.


(RE)PRESENT Q+A Discussion Panel
@ Las Fotos Project | FEBRUARY 25, 2017 6PM – 8PM

Join Las Fotos Project on Saturday, February 25 for a panel Q+A with four well-known black female photographers: Oriana Koren, Kayla Reefer, Dana Washington and Sophia Nahli Allison.

The conversation will be centered on the experiences, challenges, and triumphs of black women photographers and their relationship to their craft. Our wonderful panelists will discuss how their intersecting identities impact both their photographic subject matter and their professional career.

The discussion will highlight the need and importance of black women’s visibility in photography, the challenge of diversifying representations of “blackness” and traditional representations of black communities in mainstream media.

Following the moderated portion of the panel, audience members will have an opportunity to ask questions to panelists during the Q+A.

This community event is free, but please RSVP at

You can also read my interview with Dana Washington on her portrait series Awa here.

Las Fotos Project is located on 2658 Pasadena Ave., Lincoln Heights, CA 90031


ICONS by Parker Day
@ Superchief Gallery | FEBRUARY 25, 2017 1PM – 10PM

Superchief Gallery LA took on the solo exhibition of 100 portraits by photographer Parker Day. Her images from her series ICONS burst forth from the seamy underbelly of life in an explosion of lurid technicolor with a cast of characters played by club kids, internet personalities, and self-professed freaks. The un-retouched grit and grain of 35mm film packages fantastical content in palpable reality. Identity, and our ability to shape how we’re seen and in turn who we are, is central to the work. It’s communicated through costuming, symbols, and the emotional language of color, to connect in an intuitive and direct way that transcends artifice.

Parker Day began shooting ICONS in July, 2015. Images from the series have been featured in The New Yorker, Juxtapoz, Vice, i-D, and Dazed. Although selections from ICONS have appeared in international media and group shows, Superchief Gallery LA is the first to exhibit the complete ICONS series.

Visit the work of Parker Day during her closing reception before it’s gone!


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@ The Bower Museum | FEBRUARY 25, 2017 – JUNE 25, 2017

Frida Kahlo – Her Photos offers an intimate glance into the life of one of the world’s most beloved artists. Throughout her life, Kahlo meticulously collected over 6,000 photographs of loved ones as well as scenes of Mexican culture, politics, art, history and nature.

These photographs were taken by many renowned creatives of the time including Edward Weston, Tina Modotti, Lola and Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Martin Munkácsi, the artist herself and others. After her death, the collection was locked away by a grieving Diego Rivera in Kahlo’s Mexico City family home, Casa Azul or the Blue House. More than fifty years later, this treasured collection was revealed to the public. Curated by the distinguished Mexican photographer and image historian Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, Frida Kahlo – Her Photos presents 241 of these photographs, all of which are the first and only prints made of the originals.

The Bower Museum is located on 2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706


@ Bovard Auditorium | APRIL 25, 2017 at 7PM

Shirin Neshat, born in Iran and based in New York City, is one of the most prominent living artists in the world. Her work probes issues of gender, power, displacement, protest, identity, and the space between the personal and the political. Neshat’s photography, video installations, and films have been shown at museums and festivals across the globe, and she has been awarded the International Award at the Venice Biennale, the Silver Lion for Best Director at the Venice Film Festival, and the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize.

In a wide-ranging and inspiring talk, Neshat will discuss her creative process, how migration and living in varied cultures has affected her life and her art, and the role of art and freedom of expression in an enlightened and just society.

For more information, click here.

The 5 Iranian Women Photographers in ‘Art Brief III: The (Un)draped Woman’ You Need to Know

abiiiOn Thursday, February 9th, join LA based visual artist platform, ADVOCARTSY, in celebrating the opening of their third Art Brief installment entitled, Art Brief III: The (Un)Draped Woman. 

The exhibition features 14 artists of Iranian origin whose works speak to the timely and internationally relevant issues surrounding the representation of women. ADVOCARTSY’s founder and curator, Roshi Rahnama, is hopeful that the exhibition’s intent to encourage viewers to go beyond pre-conceived perceptions will help engender a new dialogue regarding the image of women in Iran and beyond.

Featured in this showcase are renowned photographers Shadi YousefianSepideh SalehiShadi Ghadirian, Gohar Dashti, and Tahmineh Monzavi.

Preview their featured works below:


is currently based in San Francisco. Yousefian’s mixed media work reflects and addresses issues that touch on universal themes such as loss, dislocation, alienation, and personal reinvention.

Shadi Yousefian. Social Identity (2003). Photographic print mounted on wood panels. Image courtesy of the artist and ADVOCARTSY.


is based in New York City and works in collages, paintings, printing, photography, and video animation. Her works revolve around the poetics of the veil, or chador, as well as stories from her country of origin.

Sepideh Salehi. Mohr Portrait (2014). Photograph and frottage on Japanese paper. Image courtesy of the artist and ADVOCARTSY.


is a documentary photographer and filmmaker. Her body of work concentrates on social conflicts, contradictions and the young generation of Iran.

Tahmineh Monzavi. Tina (2010-2012). Archival digital pigment print. Image courtesy of the artist, Robert Klein Gallery, and Azita Bina. 


is a photographer residing in Tehran. You may have already seen Ghadirian’s sepia toned work in her series, Qajar.  Ghadirian’s imagery comments and portrays the contradictions between tradition and modernity for women living in Iran and dichotomies present in daily life.

Shadi Ghadirian. From the series Be Colorful (2002). Image courtesy of the artist, Robert Klein Gallery and Azita Bina.


mainly addresses social issues with particular references to history and culture through her photographs. Her practice continuously develops from life events and the connection between the personal and the universal, the political and the fantasized.

Gohar Dashti. Odalisque (2014 – 2015), from the series Stateless. Image courtesy of the artist, Robert Klein Gallery and Azita Bina.

Art Brief III: The (Un)Draped Woman opens Thursday Feb. 9th at Arena 1 Gallery from 7pm to 10pm. ARENA 1 Gallery is located at 3026 Airport Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90405

5 Must See Fall Photo Shows



LOS ANGELES — #girlgaze: a frame of mind  is an interactive, digitally driven exhibit for all ages that maps the imaginative landscape of young, female-identifying photographers from around the world. Largely sourced through social media, the curated images’ raw vitality is their only constant – diverse perspectives are presented on everything from identity and standards of beauty to relationships, mental health, and creativity. While viewing these stunning, never-before-exhibited images, visitors will have the opportunity to create and share their own photos on social media.

The exhibit curators are Girlgaze, a collective founded by the famed British-born television host, women’s advocate and photographer, Amanda de Cadenet. Girlgaze began as a social media movement with over 450,000 submissions on Instagram and has grown into the first multimedia platform to support girls behind the camera. In addition to its digital showcase for images, Girlgaze provides a larger ecosystem supporting the work and careers of fledgling female photographers, artists and creatives, from providing grants to securing jobs.

#girlgaze: a frame of mind opens this weekend at the Annenberg Space for Photography.



LOS ANGELES— Infinity Room is pleased to present the work of Los Angeles based artist, MJ Katz, whose first solo exhibition, So Long: So Far, deconstructs the nature of home with regard to place. Following displacement from her childhood house, the artist embarked on a cathartic process of documenting herself in the place she grew up.

MJ’s presence in the frame as both illuminated guide and figure, is the same illumination one receives when the realization settles in that you can no longer visit the spaces that have kept you whole. The dark vignettes of her frame juxtaposed by the intimate illumination of the self allows the artist to pull the viewer across the spectrum of naked, yearning vulnerability to empowered confidence.

Her work is made eerie by nature of its transitory state from dwelling to ruin, capturing a site in the process of losing its quality of home by no longer providing a safe space for the artist. In this series, she sorts through, reminisces, boxes up, and discards the ways in which she defines and quantifies home. A butterfly no longer needs its cocoon; a ghost fulfills its haunt; MJ Katz says “So Long.”

You can see So Long : So Far during the artist reception on Friday, October 21st from 6pm t0 9pm, at Infinity Room on West Adams.

Infinity Room | 5413 West Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036 




NEW YORK— In her latest photographs Talia Chetrit has structured a series of performative scenarios in which the artist uses her body, and that of her partner (you can find him displayed usually as a hairy limb, respectfully), to destabilize the conventions of self-portraiture and its mechanisms of control.

The shutter release, along with mirrors in her studio, deconstructed clothing, and multiple cameras, are tools with which Chetrit sets up deliberate triangulations that present us with critical openings. It is through these openings that we see the artist repeatedly demonstrating her submission to her own process as an act of authorial agency.

There’s an element of Baldessari present in Chetrit’s work that makes the self-nude humorous and inviting. One of the only images of her face shows the artist grinning widely having placed tiny mirrors over her eyes. In fact, the title of the work is appropriately named Mirror Eyes (2016). Here Chetrit displays the simultaneous performance of ‘seeing’and also a willful, humorous blindness.

Talia Chetrit’s work will be on display at Kaufman Repetto now until October 31, 2016.



LUXEMBOURG— Wild Project Gallery is at it again with another otherworldly exhibition featuring the Parisian based, Australian photographer, Vee Speers. Life is present in the work of Vee Speers, symbolising moments of peaceful solitude in a world that is becoming increasingly complex.

The exhibition Jardin Secret eternalizes the fragility of beauty through a double lens of childhood and black and white botanical portraits, which the artist then colors to create a sense of transformation in a chaotic world. The portraits feel ethereal through their fresh new hues, not natural enough to be the mirror of our reality but animated by a powerful breath of new life.

Jardin Secret is on now until October 20th at Wild Project Gallery, 22, rue Louvigny L-1946 Luxembourg.

screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-12-08-13-amJESSICA BACKHAUS | SIX DEGREES OF FREEDOM

BERLIN— With Art Week Berlin and Unseen Amsterdam coming to a close, new works by German photographer Jessica Backhaus have been circling the minds of photo enthusiasts and art goers alike. Luckily one gallery is showcasing the photographer’s recent series, Six Degrees of Freedom, which examines themes of origin, yearning, identity, and destiny based on Backhaus’ personal revisitation to sites from her childhood.

Robert Morat Gallery showcases Six Degrees of Freedom now until November 19th.

+ Read my interview with Jessica Backhaus on Foto Infinitum.

5 Photo Shows You Should See This Summer

Nan Goldin: The Ballad of Sexual Dependency @ MOMA


New York’s MOMA is bringing Nan Goldin’s almost 700 snapshot-like portraits of love and loss to the public. Stash some tissues in your pockets, for this deeply personal narrative packs a punch. Sequenced against an evocative music soundtrack, Nan Goldin’s The Ballad of Sexual Dependency formed out of the artist’s own experiences around Boston, New York, Berlin, and elsewhere in the late 1970s, 1980s, and beyond. In an era of ecstasy and pain through sex and drug use, we find our protagonist (including Goldin herself) reveling at dance clubs and bonding with their children at home; and they suffer from domestic violence and the ravages of AIDS.

The Ballad of Sexual Dependency is the diary I let people read,” Goldin wrote. “The diary is my form of control over my life. It allows me to obsessively record every detail. It enables me to remember.”

The Ballad is on view now through Sunday, February 12, 2017. Presented in its original 35mm format, along with photographs from the Museum’s collection that also appear as images in a hand curated slide show featuring tracks by Maria Callas to The Velvet Underground.

Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life @ The Broad


The Broad is still offering reserved tickets for their first special exhibition, Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life. If you’re like me and still haven’t had the chance to see The Broad, now is the time. Maybe the new $12 admission fee will turn you off, but let’s face it, we couldn’t expect the brand new museum to be completely free for long.

While I’ve spoken of the endless magic that is Cindy Sherman before, Los Angeles is buzzing over the showcase that features an astounding 120 works by Sherman in The Broad’s first-floor galleries, including ceiling tall murals of the ever changing Sherman.

Tickets to the exhibition are timed and are available every half hour, up until one hour before the museum closes. Ticketholders for Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life are welcome to visit the Broad collection in the third-floor galleries after their visit to the special exhibition, but keep in mind this does not grant access to the timed Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room installation. You will need a separate, first come, first served ticket which can only be reserved once you’ve joined the list upon entrance.

Izumi  Miyazaki: Cute & Cruel @ Wild Project Gallery


If you find yourself in Luxembourg City, go have a look at Wild Project Gallery. Their current exhibition Cute & Cruel features surreal self portraits of the world wide web’s sensational Japanese photographer, Izumi Miyazaki (who I’ve written about before here).

This is Izumi’s first solo exhibition, and I am so happy that the wonderful people at Wild Project Gallery are giving miss Miyazaki her first solo exhibition, ever. There is even a special installation that the artist provided for the occasion (which has appeared before for an exhibition in Japan). Congrats Izumi!

Her self portraits practice cold humor and often feature absurd performances. The young photographer is not afraid to slice her head, adorning it with fresh tomatoes or fish in a human interpretation of sushi. If she never smiles in her photographs, it is probably to express her loneliness and the difficulty of connecting with today’s youth when you are in your twenties in Japan.

Cute & Cruel is on view at Wild Project Gallery now until July 30th.

Jordanna Kalman’s Invisible Polaroids @ Rubber Factory


Another first time solo exhibition is in the works this summer to bring photographer, Jordanna Kalman and her manipulated polaroids at New York’s Rubber Factory, on view from July 9th through August 9th.

Jordanna’s Invisible series revolves around the grieving process and explores absence through the medium of the Polaroid. Invisible is a deeply personal body of work as the obscuring of faces, use of shadows and even the profile angle is used to channel Jordanna’s own questions about the role of women. There is a real duality, a battle within the work to show beauty and femininity but to find these elements ephemeral and difficult to define in real life. She has been working with polaroids for the last 16 years, the immediacy of the medium is central to her practice as it provides tangible proof of the moment while preserving it as object, singular and unique.

As part of Rubber Factory’s mission to make visible the production of artworks to contextualize and drive dialogue, Jordanna’s exhibition will include a recreated studio space which aims to capture the mood and domestic influences behind the work. Additionally, a combination of framed, enlarged polaroid work and more lo-fi process driven outtakes will be taped to the wall, echoing Jordanna’s chronological process and seeking to visualize the diaristic origins of the work.

If you are in New York I would encourage you to check out Rubber Factory’s opening reception for the artist on Saturday, July 9th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm.

Sinziana Velicescu: On The Periphery @ AIA|LA Gallery


This Friday AIA|LA Gallery invites you to the opening reception for “Sinziana Velicescu: On The Periphery & Beyond” curated by the Lucie Foundation.

On The Periphery explores the aesthetic and utilitarian effect of architecture in and around the greater Los Angeles area. Minimalistic in nature and inspired by abstract expressionism and graphic design, the images represent a departure from the day to day realities of Los Angeles’s cluttered landscape. The moments captured are fragments of a cityscape’s lifetime that are most often overlooked by an entire population concerned solely with reaching a destination. The result is an homage to ‘The City,’ combined with a hidden desire to escape to another place or perhaps another time. From pastel strip malls and stucco motels to otherworldly churches and beige business centers – these structures are documented with an anthropological curiosity but simultaneously reduced to their basic forms, resulting in an abstraction from reality bound by the photographic frame.

Sinziana Velicescu is a photographer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles, California. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Film. Her photography explores human intervention with nature in landscapes that have undergone political, social, or environmental change. Selections from her award winning series, “On The Periphery,” have been shown in galleries internationally in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Hamburg, Melbourne, Tokyo, and Rome. Most recently, Photo Boite named her one of the 30 Female photographers under 30 to watch in 2016.

On The Periphery is on view July 8 – July 29, 2016.

Tiny: Streetwise Revisited Now On View at Aperture Foundation

Everyone knows that New York is always bustling, but this week the Aperture Foundation is creating a buzz among the crowds for an entirely different reason. Today not only marks the public opening of their exhibition Tiny: Streetwise Revisited, but also the one year anniversary of the late and great, Mary Ellen Mark.

Mark’s documentary series Streetwise (1983) had introduced the world to some of Seattle’s most unforgettable homeless youth, including Erin Blackwell, or as the streets would know her as Tiny.

The Aperture Foundation has revisited the series to create a selection of prints — a collaborative effort made by Mary Ellen Mark and filmmaker husband, Martin Bell and Aperture editor Melissa Harris before Mark’s death on May 25, 2015.

Tiny: Streetwise Revisited takes us through a selective timeline beginning with teenaged Tiny, to the middle aged mother of ten we meet today. The work quickly became one of Mark’s most significant and long term projects that considers “cycles of poverty, addiction, and homelessness — and their potentially destructive manifestations and effects: even the safest and most secure family life may suddenly feel terrifyingly vulnerable.”


Aperture Foundation Gallery is located on 
547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10001

Las Fotos Project Celebrates International Women’s Day

Who’s Afraid of Women Photographers?

(via LensCulture)

The Parisian museum L’Orangerie is showcasing an eye-opening retrospective on 19th century photographs shot by women photographers. From Julia Margaret Cameron, Dorothea Lange, to Helen Levitt and Tina Modotti, and more. These women have proven centuries later that their images remain exemplary in their power to remain ground-breaking in an era of confinement.

Now, the exhibition also does an excellent job of avoiding the polemical—this is not about women equalling men, either technically or artistically. Instead, the show focuses on how female photographers deserve more of our interest because they played such an important role in pushing the boundaries of what could be photographed. What is emphasized, then, is the specificity of photographs as they were beginning to be made by women for the first time.

“Who’s Afraid of Women Photographers” is a two-part exhibition; the first part of the 19th century retrospective covers 1839-1919, and select images from 1918-1945 will be displayed at Musee D’Orsay. Both shows will run until January 24, 2016. If you are close to Paris, I encourage all to spend their time to see this show before it is over, and please do share your images with us!


Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879). Vivien and Merlin. © Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt.
Elfriede Stegemeyer (1908-1988). Self Portrait, 1933. © Digital Image Museum Associates/LACMA/Art Resource NY/Scala, Florence.
Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952). Self-portrait as a transvestite velocipedist, 1890-1900. © Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division.
Regina Relang (1895-1989). Beim Rennen in Longchamp, 1936. © Münchner Stadtmuseum, Sammlung Fotografie, Archiv Relang.